Jose Mourinho has told friends and associates that he will replace Louis van Gaal as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, according to reports in several British newspapers on Wednesday.
The Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph all quoted an unnamed source close to the 53-year-old Portuguese as saying his installation at Old Trafford was a "done deal".
The former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto coach was sacked by Chelsea in December but said in an interview last week that he would soon be back in management, preferably in England.
Van Gaal, who has another year left on his contract after this season, has had to deal with constant speculation about his position after United made a stuttering start to the season.
The Dutchman said on Sunday he thought reports of negotiations between United and Mourinho were an invention of the media.
United share price slumps
Embattled Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the Premier League club's share price dipped to its lowest level in over three years.
Van Gaal has been engaged in a battle to hold onto his job for much of a troubled season and that struggle was hardly helped by news that United's share position isn't much healthier than their league status.
United's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were dented on Sunday when Chelsea striker Diego Costa scored in stoppage-time to rescue a 1-1 draw against Van Gaal's team, who are now six points adrift of the top four with 13 matches remaining.
The possibility of failing to secure a place in Europe's lucrative flagship tournament clearly concerned investors as United's share price dropped from $14.50 (£10.05, 12.95 euros) to $13.86 on Monday.
That figure is the lowest price since December 2012, meaning not even during the darkest days of David Moyes's reign had United's shares been valued so lowly.
United's share price dropped by 2.6 per cent in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange before rising above the $14 mark again in the afternoon.
The club's financial position remains strong, given their world record £750 million kit deal with Adidas, but United's performances on the pitch and their league position are of clear concern to those who invest in the club.
Investors will get their chance to grill United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward during a conference call on Thursday, when the club's second-quarterly results of 2016 will also be announced.
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